Minor League history: California State League

Through the twentieth century there have been three different organized leagues that named themselves the California State League.

Before the 1910 CSL, there was another California State League, but that was a so called outlaw league that wasn’t acknowledged by the National Commission. The league lasted from 1907 through 1909 but ran aground because the league spent more (on salaries), than what came in at the gates of the ballparks. The high salaries drew a lot of major league players to the league after the end of the regular MLB season, much to the disdain of the Pacific Coast League owners.

The first organized California State League lasted only one season: 1910. The second run of the California State League ran from 1913 until early May 1915.
Notable fact about the first two California State Leagues is that all teams came from the Northern part of California. Apparently that part was the more civilized part of the state in those days.

The third and final run of the California State League lasted only a couple of months in 1929. All teams of this league came from the Southern part of the state: San Diego Aces, Bakersfield Bees, San Bernadino Padres, Santa Ana/Pomona/Coronado.

1910

The 1910 California State League started as a class B league but lost that classification after the San Francisco Baby Seals and the Sacramento Baby Senators dropped out of the league on May 31. The as the National Commission took the class B classification away from the league on June 6 and the league became a class D league. Oakland moved to Merced on June 7. When the Fresno Tigers ceased operations on June 24th, the league called it quits on the very same day.

1913-1915

In 1913 the California State League was revived. From the start the league faced financial problems but made it until the end of the season though as the Stockton Producers won the championship. During the season, the Vallejo franchise moved to Watsonville on July 6. On December 2 of that year there was a meeting in San Francisco with the representatives of the cities of the league. The next year the league would continue but it had to cut costs; about $30,000. Mainly on salaries and transportation. It was decided that San Jose, Stockton and Fresno would get a team again, completed with a team in Vallejo, Watsonville or Bakersfield. Eventually none of the three proposed cities joined the league as Modesto would step in.
In 1914 the league wouldn’t finish the season as it disbanded on June 1 due to financial problems.
One year later league president Allen T. Baum was replaced by Louis W. Schroeder, who made another effort to restart the league. But once again a team moved. This time it was the Berkely franchise that moved to San Francisco on April 28. At the end of May, the state of California was plagued by heavy rainfall that heralded the end of the league. On May 30 the league disbanded for good.

Cities represented 1913-1915:

Alameda, CA: Alameda 1915
Berkeley, CA: Berkeley 1915
Fresno, CA: Fresno Packers 1913; Fresno Tigers 1914
Modesto, CA: Modesto Reds 1914-1915
Oakland, CA: Oakland Commuters 1915
San Francisco, CA: San Francisco 1915
San Jose, CA: San Jose Bears 1913-1915
Stockton, CA: Stockton Producers 1913; Stockton Millers 1914-1915
Vallejo, CA: Vallejo Marines 1913
Watsonville, CA: Watsonville Pippins 1913

1929

The 1929 edition operated as a class D league and was another example of a weak league. The league appeared like a flash in the pan and was rather ill-conceived. The Santa Ana Orange Countiers moved to Pomona early in the season (on May 8). Seven days later the franchise moved to Coronado County (San Diego) where they would play their games at Navy Field, home of the San Diego Aces, until an appropriate place to play was found. Somehow the Coronado Arabs started to win and drew attention of some businessmen from Fresno, who wanted to buy the team.  The owner of the Bakersfield Bees withdrew the club from the league for an undisclosed reason on June 16. One day later, the league disbanded for good.
For the first time in the history of the various California State Leagues, all teams came from the Southern part of California.

Aces
The San Diego Aces

Cities represented:

Bakersfield, CA: Bakersfield Bees
Santa Ana, CA: Santa Ana Orange Countians
Pomona, CA: Pomona Arabs
Coronado, CA: Coronado Arabs
San Bernardino, CA: San Bernardino Padres
San Diego, CA: San Diego Aces

 

 

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One Reply to “Minor League history: California State League”

  1. I’m looking for any super early photographs/graphics/baseball card imagery re: the San Jose Bees & the California State League. Any ideas besides general searches online?

    Like

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